Trial underway for officer accused of shooting man in the face

Trial underway for officer accused of shooting man in the face

Posted: Updated:
Mark Whittman, who was shot, took the stand today. Source: WBRC video Mark Whittman, who was shot, took the stand today. Source: WBRC video
Manuel Diaz, Jr. also took the stand. Source: WBRC video Manuel Diaz, Jr. also took the stand. Source: WBRC video
BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) -

The trial resumes today for a Birmingham police officer accused of shooting a man in the face at the Birmingham Airport. The incident happened in November of 2011.

Manuel Richard Diaz, Jr. is charged with shooting Mark Daniel Wittman. Police say Diaz told Wittman he could not park in the pickup lane at the terminal. When Wittman left and came back, police say Diaz fired his gun. Wittman was hit in the face; he was released from the hospital the next day.

Whittman and Diaz both testified today. Whittman told the court that he went with a work associate to pick up a conference guest speaker at the airport. He says he dropped of his associate and parked in a spot near the curb.

A short time later, he says a man approached his car and told him to move. Whittman admits that he took off quickly, leaving tread marks. He says he came back around a second time and was looking at a text message on his phone. When he looked up he saw the same man in front of his car with his hand out.

Whitman says he reacted quickly, veering left towards the man and then correcting to the right. He says he heard pops and when he looked up he realized he'd been shot.

Diaz took the stand Wednesday afternoon. He says that the first time he stepped up to Whittman's car, Whittman was "angry" in his gestruing. Diaz said he backed off but when Whittman came back around the second time, he stepped out in front of his vehicle and held out his hand.

Diaz says that Whittman didn't stop his car as he approached so Diaz jumped out of the way. He says he felt his life was threatened and fired shots.

When asked whether he regretted his actions that day, Diaz said he did not.

Check back to MyFoxAl.com for more information as this story develops.

Copyright 2013 WBRC. All rights reserved.

Powered by WorldNow